Friday, January 23, 2015

High Five for Friday

Hi there! Today I'm linking up Jennie to share some of my favorite stuff from the past week.

1) Last Friday, Grant was sick and home from school. I stopped for a movie on the way home thinking we'd do a movie night. We ended up not watching it until the next morning (Frozen, again...we love Olaf) but I still fixed our typical movie night food: stove popped popcorn! Its one of my favorite things. My mom used to make it for us and I've got Husband and Grant hooked on it. We don't even buy the microwave stuff anymore. 
When I make it I like to send pictures to my sister (who got revenge
by sending me pictures of homemade dinner rolls a couple days later)
2) I haven't been walking or running much yet this year (ok, I haven't been running at all since sometime in December) and Saturday was so pretty! So I set out for a walk in the afternoon and got in 4 miles. It made me feel a little better about not getting out so much last week...and walking is always so much more enjoyable than running!
There's this rundown farm house in the middle of  cow pasture
that I love to look at on my walks. And it was such a pretty day!
3) I had promised Grant some baking time soon since he got some new kitchen tools for Christmas. Over the weekend we decided to make some brownies (just the box kind). He got to use his new giraffe whisk and was so excited! Soon I have to make time for cut-out cookies because he's chomping at the bit to use his alligator rolling pin!
Baking lesson: always, always lick the spoon :)

Enjoying the fruits of his labor (he'll eat brownies but not cake!)

4) Monday I was off! That in itself is wonderful. I kept Grant home with me that day and we explored a new park ("new" meaning we'd never been there) and had lunch together before running some errands. I love our days off together!
Jumping on the bridge
He loved sliding down the pole pretending he was in "Paw Patrol"
Me and my guy :)
Happy Friday everyone!
Have a great weekend!
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Friday, January 2, 2015

High Five for Friday

Happy New Year! Today I'm linking up Jennie to share some of my favorite stuff from the past week.

1) With Christmas being just over a week ago, I had to post this picture. This crazy kid is the best and we had such a great Christmas!

2) Santa brought Grant a marble maze for Christmas. Santa was really excited about this gift because "he" thought Grant would be really fascinated by it. Santa was right. Grant think it is - as my mother would have said - the cat's ass. But when Santa ordered it from Zulily...Santa had no idea that it doesn't come with instructions. Have fun with that Christmas evening when you're deliriously tired. It doesn't work out so well. However, after a good night's sleep and an great cup of coffee (with the promise of much more in the pot waiting for me) I managed to get that marble maze going correctly based solely on a picture from the box. Hooray Mama.

3) Friday I cooked a yummy beef roast in the crockpot. I'm typically a terrible beef cooker (or perhaps I just think that because when I eat it I want it to be life-changing and it never is) but this turned out really well. I shredded it to make french dip sandwiches - one of my favorite sandwiches ever. I didn't love it in a sandwich so next time I think it would be good with just some mashed potatoes and a veggie. (beef roast recipe HERE).

4) Saturday we wen to Hill Ridge Farms for their Festival of Lights. Last year I won tickets to this through a raffle at work and I did again this year too! Grant loves to ride through the huge light display on the hay wagon!



5) My Aunt Bonnie sent some Christmas presents to Grant and she told me that she'd put some old pictures in there for me. I love to go through old pictures and there were some good ones in there!
Me and my sister
Me with my cousins Nick and AJ
Me and my cousin AJ
6) Grant's school did early closing on New Year's Eve so I decided to just take the day off and have some fun with him. We went to an early movie, ran some errands, and then just relaxed at home (he got to stay up a little later that night and we had ice cream to celebrate NYE).
Hogging the popcorn and waiting for The Penguins of Madagascar to start!
Happy Friday everyone!
Have a great weekend!
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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014

I learned a little Christmas lesson this year. When we asked Grant what he was going to ask Santa to bring him, he said "The Planes Fire & Rescue movie and the Darth Vader car. That's all I want. Just two presents. I have enough." And it didn't change, he kept saying that's all he wanted. When we went shopping he wanted to look at the toys, like he always does but he didn't ask for anything and didn't say "I wish Santa would bring me this..." So I took the opportunity to down-size the Christmas "stuff" this year. I won't deny that I've gone overboard in years past but I didn't want to this year. Grant got more than the two things he asked for...of course but when deciding what to get him, in addition to those two things, I thought more about it. Does he need it? No (of course not). Is he going to play with it a lot? Eh, maybe. Is it going to end up shoved in the toy box in two months? Yes. Then don't get it. And you know what? We had a fantastic Christmas. Grant loved and appreciated everything. He paid attention to it all and wanted to play with it all rather than tearing through one present after another ending with a pile of stuff. 

On Christmas Eve we sprinkled the reindeer food that Grant made at Pullen Park on the front lawn.




Then we left cookies & milk for Santa. I had done a lot of holiday cooking this month so Santa doesn't get homemade cookies in this house. Santa got some yummy store bought cookies and he really enjoyed them!



And everyone was up and at 'em bright and early the next morning! Grant was beside himself when he saw that Santa had left him some presents. Santa wraps the presents he leaves in our house with special paper so Grant knew which ones were from Santa. 


But first...stockings! (Stuffing stockings is one of my favorite parts of Christmas!)




He must have been good this year, that stocking had some good stuff!
On to presents. The very first thing he wanted to open happened to be one of things he asked Santa for...

Planes Fire & Rescue! I love that excited face!
And a few more:
The Darth Vader car he asked for (and the Luke Skywalker one as a bonus)
Always books!
Ninja Turtles Raphael "combat gear"
A marble maze! We've had a lot of fun with this!
Grant had so much fun Christmas morning! He played while I cooked breakfast and then we got ready to go to my in-law's for Christmas lunch. Grant knew there were presents from Gramma & Grandpa to open but we have lunch before we do that. Like last year, I told him he couldn't open presents unless he eats a good lunch. Thankfully, he ate a good lunch...what will I do if that stops working?

Grant always helps pass out the presents and then he had a ball opening the ones for him.
(That big box in the second frame is a
soft new blanket that Gramma made him!)
It was such a fun and exciting Christmas! We had such a great day. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas too!

He was out by the time we reached the end of Gramma's driveway!

Happy New Year, too!

Friday, December 26, 2014

New Recipe: Make-Ahead Muffin Melts

The day after Christmas already? I can't believe it. I actually started my Christmas shopping in September this year. It's the first year I've ever started really early and it was great! Except that I'm the kind of person who can't wait to give a gift so hanging on to all those presents for so long was murder. We had a wonderful Christmas - and I hope you all did too! I'm still going through all our Christmas pictures, so I thought I'd post about Christmas breakfast.

Christmas breakfast in this house is always a bit challenging for me. As a kid my mom made us a big breakfast after we opened presents because we'd go over to my Aunt & Uncle's house later in the afternoon for Christmas dinner. For us, we go to my in-laws for Christmas lunch and no one wants to eat a big breakfast if you're going to have a big lunch in just a few hours. A couple years in a row I tried different casseroles. One in particular I remember was just gross (my sister and husband didn't think it was but I vowed to never make it again...I'm pretty sure it made me gag). But this year I found a good one! An all-in-one easy, quick breakfast that wasn't too big and didn't ruin lunch (or make me gag). These Make-Ahead Muffin Melts are from a Pioneer Woman cookbook my friend Janis gave me for my birthday. I haven't tried a PW recipe yet that I didn't love!


Make-Ahead Muffin Melts

Ingredients:
  • 12 slices of bacon
  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled & chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (real stuff, not light or fat free)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 English muffins, split
Directions:
  1. Fry the bacon (I like mine crispy but you do what you like). Chop up the bacon and set it aside. 
  2. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and "rough chop" them. 
  3. In a bowl add your chopped eggs, cheese, chopped bacon, mayo, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix it all up. Taste it and see if it needs anything else. If not, lets move on.
  4. Preheat your oven's boiler (PW says preheat to "low", my oven has only one boiler setting "hot as hell". But if your oven has a "low" then do what she says.)
  5. Spread the egg mixture evenly on top of all your English muffin halves and put them on a baking sheet.
  6. Broil them for 3-4 minutes (ovens vary so it make take longer for some, it did in mine). Keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
  7. Enjoy!
Recipe Source: Pioneer Woman


 Notes/Suggestions:
  • I halved the above recipe, we are only 3 people and do not need 12 English muffins sitting around (I'm not sure these would reheat very well). The recipe halved great.
  • If you're making these ahead of time (I made mine the night before), skip #4 in the directions. Make up your mixture, spread them on the muffin halves, arrange them on a baking sheet (they could also be layered with wax paper in a container to save room), then wrap them and stick them in the fridge. To make sure they would be hot, I baked mine at 350 for 8-10 minutes (that may have been a bit too long) and then broiled them.
  • Grant isn't a fan of crunchy things and didn't like them. He picked the topping off and ate that but was totally turned off by the whole thing. But in my opinion, it's a kid friendly recipe. Just not my kid.
  • Chopped up ham or sausage would be a tasty substitute for bacon.
  • This would be good for dinner too! You could serve it with a bunch of different sides.
Enjoy!

Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 Pullen Park Holiday Express

I'm a big fan of large Christmas light displays. I get that from my Dad. Grant does too, he can't get enough Christmas lights! So he always has fun at the Pullen Park holiday thing. I almost skipped the tickets this year because no Saturday times were available when I decided to reserve tickets but it's such a fun family thing that I decided a Sunday was just fine :)

Usually you just reserve your stuff and show up. This year you had to pick a specific "boarding time" for your train ride. Fantastic idea because it was SO much better organized this year (and less crowded). I didn't pick up our stuff ahead of time this year, I had so much going on that I just decided to get it when we got there. Except we almost didn't make it. Husband's family had a get-together that day and it ran long. Our train time was 5:45, I looked at the time as the lady was handing me my envelope it was 5:30 - whew! So we headed there immediately. But after the ride we just wandered around the park enjoying everything before heading home.

So happy and excited!
Waving to the passengers on the later train ride!
They had a sledding station set up that I was so excited about! I knew Grant would love it and I figured we'd ride together. Nope. He told me at the top that he wanted to ride alone and since I was stuck up there without a sled...no sledding for Mama. But he had a blast. We met him at the bottom and he said "That. Was. AWESOME!" I think the sledding was his favorite, even more than the train.


They had a little station set up where you make "Reindeer Food" to sprinkle in your yard on Christmas Eve. I thought that was so cute!

Making his reindeer food.
We walked around a bit checking out the lights before hitting the carousel (which is the fastest carousel I've ever been on - I can't believe no one was thrown off!)




Going so fast!
Since it was Sunday night (and Grant had missed almost the whole previous week being sick), we didn't stay a long time. But it's kind of become a tradition for us so I'm glad we got to go. On the way out we stopped so Grant could play in the snow machine they had going at the entrance/exit.



It definitely got me feeling a little more festive and it was a great way to end our weekend!
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